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Old 06-02-2008, 03:13 AM   #61
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From The Times:

Latvian shows LTA that money is not everything
by Neil Harman



Andy Murray has crossed the Channel home to grass, while the LTA charabanc has decamped here. There are four coaches and two conditioning experts to cover Britain's five participants in the boys' singles at the French Open, which seems a bit excessive, though you can understand why Paul Hutchins, the head of men's tennis, might be excited that his son, Ross, is into the last 16 of the men's doubles, having been the final direct acceptance into the draw.

The grass-court season bursts into life in Surbiton today, where there will be more interest on who is on the sidelines than those trying to find their feet. Brad Gilbert is to remain coaching Alex Bogdanovic until the US Open and Peter Lundgren, Great Britain's Davis Cup coach until he resigned from the LTA for personal reasons a couple of months ago, has returned to the fold with Marcos Baghdatis, the world No18 from Cyprus. It is a tremendous opportunity for the Swede — who coached Bogdanovic at the Australian Open four months ago — to rehabilitate and one that makes the timing of his departure from the LTA all the more perplexing.

Still, the governing body has enough money swirling around in the coffers to fill at least one Eurostar carriage. According to Ernests Gulbis, the youngest player left in the men's singles at Roland Garros, the Latvian Tennis Federation received 3,000 Lats — “That's about €5,500 [about £4,300],” he said — from the national Government last year. “And with that, you can't even organise two tournaments.”

One can understand the LTA's despair when another poor relation finds a player to celebrate — and Gulbis is well worth raising a glass to — but again we are left to wonder how it is that little Lativa can unearth such a talent as the 19-year-old red-head who announced himself to the world in Paris a year ago, trouncing Tim Henman in the first round.

By reaching the fourth round of last year's US Open, Gulbis broke into the top 50 and is heading back in that direction after a spell of injuries dropped him to No 90. Michael Llodra choked on the dust raised by his dancing feet yesterday, losing 6-4, 7-6, 6-3.

Gulbis decided not to play in either the Masters tournaments in Rome and Hamburg last month, preferring to work on his physical conditioning and technique with Karl-Heinz Wetter, his new coach. The effect has been profound, for he has dropped just one set in four rounds. Now comes the test of tests, against Novak Djokovic, the No 3 seed from Serbia, with whom he used to practise when they were 12-year-olds at the Niki Pilic Tennis Academy in Munich.

Djokovic was never really threatened on an expectant Court Philippe Chatrier yesterday by Paul-Henri Mathieu, of France, claiming a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 success.

=================================================

I have to say I disagree a little with the article here. By using Ernests as the example they just proved the exact opposite point - money does matter. From what I read so far over the last couple of years, he's from a very wealth family that could afford to send him abroad to train, and that he doesn't exactly lose sleep at night about getting funding to pay his coach, for equipment and travel, etc.

Yes, the LTA's habit of trying to cure its tennis woes with money is tragic but Ernests isn't exactly a poster boy for the rags-to-riches story.
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The importance of being Ernests Riga Mortis


Ernests Gulbis on seeing HEAD racquets being made by hand:
Quote:
I felt so bad. I didn’t break a racquet for like one month. They are putting so much effort to make the racquets and an idiot like me goes and breaks them
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:19 AM   #62
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From the LA Times:

From outer limits of Europe to inner circle at French Open

by Chuck Culpepper



PARIS -- The phrase "Latvian tennis" doesn't tend to come up in conversation, and the phrase "Canary Islands tennis" sounds odd given that most people go to Spain's Canary Islands to avoid exertion such as tennis.

Still, somehow, against global odds, both phrases have popped up at the 2008 French Open because both places have sent out sudden 19-year-old quarterfinalists born four days apart in the late summer of -- please don't spit out your coffee -- 1988.

From extreme northeast Europe here's Ernests Gulbis, surely coming to a world top 20 near you, and from extreme southwest Europe here's Carla Suarez Navarro, the Canary Islander and qualifier whose ranking figures to bounce from its present-day 132.

Here's the first of the 2.2 million Latvians to say, "I'm the first guy who is in the top 100 from Latvia," as Gulbis put it. "There was one man who was 300, only, before me."

In fact, the upper crust of Latvian sports were pretty much limited to hockey, soccer and basketball -- at which Gulbis' grandfather, Alvils Gulbis, excelled on the old Soviet national team as well as the 1958 European champion club. A few years ago, Gulbis said, the national government gave only about $8,000 worth of lats, the Latvian currency, for tennis.

Then this wunderkind came along and literally altered the landscape, after he arrived at the 2007 U.S. Open having played all of 23 career matches, yet reached the fourth round.

Now . . .

"I mean, the courts in Latvia are fully booked always," he said. "If I go practice at home, I don't get a court, really. It's full."

With a businessman for a father, a theater actress for a mother, a movie director for a maternal grandfather, and four siblings including a student in England, it's no wonder Ernests jet-setted Munich at 12, entering the tennis academy of Niki Pilic, the Croatian who lost the 1973 French Open final to Ilie Nastase.

There, Gulbis would meet one Novak Djokovic, fellow Pilic pupil, Serbian, now barely 21 himself, the Australian Open champion and, look here, Gulbis' quarterfinal opponent.

"Already then he was very powerful," Djokovic said. "So he was about to grow up and, as you can see, he's very tall (6 feet 2). He's using his height for his serve, which is one of his biggest weapons. He makes a life really difficult for his opponents when he's serving well."

Djokovic, No. 3 on Earth, claimed Gulbis "was destroying me in practices" two or three years ago. "I couldn't win a match. . . . So all the pressure on him, OK?"

Still, this clay surge by the Latvian would be unanticipated, especially since, as Gulbis said, "One year ago, I was playing pretty stupid on clay." One year later, he plays with calm and maturity that seem preternatural.

Said France's Michael Llodra, Gulbis' fourth victim on a list that includes eighth-ranked American James Blake and capable Ecuadorian Nicolas Lapentti, "You don't defeat Blake and Lapentti just by chance. So I probably overestimated him rather than underestimated him," and either way, lost in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
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Ernests Gulbis on seeing HEAD racquets being made by hand:
Quote:
I felt so bad. I didn’t break a racquet for like one month. They are putting so much effort to make the racquets and an idiot like me goes and breaks them
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:30 AM   #63
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From The Sun-Sentinel blogs:

Djokovic: Don't be so sure Gulbis isn't crazy
by Charles Bricker

PARIS -- Next up for Novak Djokovic, in the quarters on Tuesday, is old friend and, apparently, drinking and/or carousing buddy Ernests Gulbis.

Djokovic is 21, Gulbis 19, but they go back three years, to when they began training with former French Open runner-up Niki Pilic in Germany.

As Djokovic recalled those days and evidently wild nights, he began smiling at the memories. "We know each other on and off the court," he began. "Crazy experiences off the court as well." But Djoko wasn't going to get into the details.

If you had to guess about the instigator of these crazy experiences, you'd say Djokovic, who might be serious and emotional on court, but who can be something of a clown off. Meanwhile, Gulbis, who is Latvian, is a sphinx when he's playing. No smiles. No frowns. He just goes about his work

When he played James Blake in the second round, he spent an inordinate time wiping his grip and his hands following a long point which he had lost. Someone in the crowd yelled: "You're giving him a blister, James."

Gulbis, poker-faced, looked up at the heckler and said, "Very funny joke." That was as quirky as he got that day.

Still, Djokovic cautioned against thinking that Gulbis can't get a little wild and crazy after work. "I think I know him better than you," he said.

Djokovic still is trying to find a consistent groove after four matches, but he dealt well Sunday with a very hot Paul-Henri Mathieu, and there's obviously no difficulty with his emotional strength.

Twice in his straight-set win over Mathieu he had to rally back from love-40 on serve, and one of those rallies came on the final game of the opening set.

Gulbis presents problems for any player because of his big serve, flat and powerful forehand and dangerous backhand. But he's streaky. He'll roll up four or five outstsanding points in a row, then crash a couple of forehands 10 feet over the baseline.

"So, maybe there's my chance with the experience and patience I have," said Djoko.
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The importance of being Ernests Riga Mortis


Ernests Gulbis on seeing HEAD racquets being made by hand:
Quote:
I felt so bad. I didn’t break a racquet for like one month. They are putting so much effort to make the racquets and an idiot like me goes and breaks them
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:34 AM   #64
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From Reuters:

Latvian Gulbis storms into quarters

by Miles Evans



PARIS (Reuters) - Latvia's Ernests Gulbis reached his first grand slam quarter-final on Sunday after an efficient 6-4 7-6 6-3 dissection of Michael Llodra at the French Open on Sunday.

The 19-year-old, the only Latvian to have played a major, hammered 11 aces and reproduced the kind of form that accounted for seventh seed James Blake in round two to quash the swashbuckling net play of the unseeded Frenchman.

Gulbis used his big serve and driving groundstrokes to thwart Llodra's chipping and charging to run out the winner in a shade over two hours on a sun-drenched Court Suzanne Lenglen.

"I'm happy. I mean, after the match, I don't want to jump around and do crazy stuff. I'm just relieved that at last it's over," said Gulbis, who chose practice on clay over trying to qualify for Masters Series events in Hamburg and Rome this year.

Unseeded Gulbis took his chance on his only break point in the first set and sealed the opener with his fourth ace.

Llodra fought back from a break down to take the second to a tiebreak and used every tactic in the book, including two shots from between his legs to try and upend the Latvian.

But Gulbis stood firm, won the tiebreak 7-4 and charged through the third in 37 minutes.

Since Gulbis first announced himself on the world stage when he reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open last year, Latvia, a country whose sports fans are normally preoccupied by basketball and soccer, has started to sit up and pay attention.

"People are really interested in tennis at this moment," the Riga-born player said. "After the U.S. Open when I reached the fourth round, the courts in Latvia are fully booked always.

"If I go to practise at home, I don't get a court. It's full."

CRAZY TIMES
Gulbis trained as a 12-year-old with his quarter-final opponent Novak Djokovic at the Niki Pilic academy in Munich and believes his new approach on clay could be a successful one.

"One year ago, I was playing pretty stupid on clay. I was going for the shots when I didn't need to go for the shots. I was playing hardcourt tennis on clay," he said.

"But on clay it's different. This year I realised it and I change my game a little bit. I'm not trying to go for winners every time, only when it's possible, so it's paying off."

Third seed Djokovic looked back with fondness at the 'crazy times' he and Gulbis had shared during their tennis apprenticeship.

"He was destroying me in practice. I couldn't win a match," Djokovic joked with reporters. "He's a favourite. I will play with no responsibility, nothing to lose."

When put to him that he appeared the crazier of the two, Djokovic replied: "Don't be so sure about that. I think I know him better than you."

Crazy or otherwise, if the Latvian people are not yet convinced about Gulbis then the defeated Llodra did his best to persuade them.

"I think he's a beautiful player. I never underestimated him. You don't defeat Blake or (Nicolas) Lapentti just by chance. So I probably overestimated him rather than underestimated him."
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Ernests Gulbis on seeing HEAD racquets being made by hand:
Quote:
I felt so bad. I didn’t break a racquet for like one month. They are putting so much effort to make the racquets and an idiot like me goes and breaks them
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:23 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by jitterbug View Post
I have to say I disagree a little with the article here. By using Ernests as the example they just proved the exact opposite point - money does matter. From what I read so far over the last couple of years, he's from a very wealth family that could afford to send him abroad to train, and that he doesn't exactly lose sleep at night about getting funding to pay his coach, for equipment and travel, etc.

Yes, the LTA's habit of trying to cure its tennis woes with money is tragic but Ernests isn't exactly a poster boy for the rags-to-riches story.
You're totaly right, his parents have paid for everything. I read in the newspaper this morning that his father even sends him to every tournament on a private plane.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:44 PM   #66
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Here is an article from the Austrian site laola1.at. It is in German and I hope someone can translate it. It is about Erni teaming with coach Karl Wetter.

http://www.laola1.at/128+M51c2c34ede8.html
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:17 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by MightyJurgenfan View Post
Here is an article from the Austrian site laola1.at. It is in German and I hope someone can translate it. It is about Erni teaming with coach Karl Wetter.

http://www.laola1.at/128+M51c2c34ede8.html
I'm working on it!
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:07 PM   #68
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My german isn't good enough to give an exact translation, but this is more or less what it says:

Quote:
Five months after Wetter split with Melzer, who he worked with for 11 years, he had an offer coming from Latvia in october 2007. Ernests Gulbis, who reached the quarter-finals of the French open on sunday for the first time in a major tournament, was looking for a new coach and found one in Karl-Heinz Wetter.

19-year-old stires up Paris

"First we had a trial-period and we prepared on Hawai for a month in december", Wetter remembers. That test-phase was over after Australia. The 19-year-old 1.91 meter tall man is the youngest player left in the men's singles draw at the second Grand Slam tournament of the year.

Gulbis, who was brought to tennis by his grandmother at the age of 5, achieved his biggest potential () when he reached the final 16 at the US Open.

Wetter likes motivation

"Erni already had a good technical back-ground, he has been worked with well before", Wetter thinks. In their first seven months together, Wetter has mainly worked on the fitness and the tactics of the Latvian. "Before he played a bit "hui und pfui"(?), but he is someone who likes to listen, who is willing to learn and who is very motivated", Wetter says.

Mentally improved

As Gulbis atmitted himself, he played stupid tennis before on clay and there have been many discussions about his tactics. The former "hothead", who is really rather shy and introvert, has a better grip on himself mentally as well. And this way he stands with the final 8 for the first time in his fifth grand slam.

(I skipped a part about Melzer, hope you don't mind)

You about the improvement

Wetter cannot compare Gulbis with Melzer. "Erni was already 19 when I started working with him, so he was at the end of his teenage-years. His private "environment"(?) is present most of the time". But he is happy that Melzer is doing better lately and in Pörtschach both Gulbis and Melzer have been training together.

Remaining red-white-red

Wetter completely focuses on the young man from Latvia right now. He doesn't mind that he isn't coaching an Austrian. The national colours are more or less the same: "The red is a bit darker and the line is a bit thinner", Wetter says. But he never expected to be standing in the quarter-final of a grand slam as a coach with the red-white-red from Latvia.

Djokovic the next victime

A quarter-final wont be the biggest achievement of the Latvian, who turns 20 on the 30th of august. "He is showing his gigantic potential again and when he remains his consistency, he can become a top 10 player", Wetter believes. The next step could be his first duel with 3rd seed Novak Djokovic, although this is his biggest obstacle in the tournament this far. In any case Gulbis has already beaten the American James Blake, seeded 7th, in the 2nd round. "When he shows his qualities and uses his serve, Djokovic will be in trouble as well".
Few, that was a hard one! From German to Dutch and from Dutch to English...
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:46 PM   #69
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Thanks so much - must've been hard work translating it!

And thank you Barbara for the link
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The importance of being Ernests Riga Mortis


Ernests Gulbis on seeing HEAD racquets being made by hand:
Quote:
I felt so bad. I didn’t break a racquet for like one month. They are putting so much effort to make the racquets and an idiot like me goes and breaks them
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:07 PM   #70
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Default Re: Ernests' news thread!

I just saw the cutest thing on TV. I was watching the local news and they had done a bit on how Ernest's first coach (from when Ernest was 5 years old) was watching his match on TV together with some other guys. Nice but nothing really interesting, I was watching the match on TV, too But then they showed some footage from year 1994. As you perhaps know, Ernest's mother is an actress and apparently they had done some kind of show about her in 1994. Apparently they were interviewing her (in 1994) during Ernest's practice and Ernest was right there. He was 5 years old! I was like - OMG, I can't believe this Ernests at 5 Granted, it was March and it was cold, he had a coat and a hat so his face was hardly visible. But the interviewer (my guess is it was done just for the cuteness factor) asked him directly: "What would you like to be when you grow up? An actor or a sportsman?" And Ernests said "A sportsman."
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:58 PM   #71
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Default Re: Ernests' news thread!

I guess asking for a link on the internet is useless, since hardly anyone understands Latvian... (but still we could see cute little Ernie )

Reminds me of a show they made about Kim Clijsters when she retired. Her father was one of the best football-players of his time and when he recieved an award for that, they asked little Kim (3 years old) what her daddy would buy her if he won the award and she answered "a tennis-court"...
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:06 PM   #72
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Default Re: Ernests' news thread!

I actually found a link but you have to be quick because it's viewable without a fee only for 24 hours (so most of tomorrow). And it's a little bit complicated to navigate but I'm sure you'll do fine if you are true Ernest's fans and want to see him little

So here are the instructions. First click here. Then find where it says "03.06.2008. Panorāma". Don't click on it, click on the black button below that says "Skatīties" (to watch). That will open a new window but you will probably get a message asking to install an activex or something. Just click yes, allow it to run the activeXs. If you're lucky, the video will then start playing. The video is about 40 minutes long, the bit about Ernest's match starts at exactly 20:00. Little Ernests is at 22:00. The video is not searchable so you'll have to fast forward for about 3 minutes to get to Ernests. If anyone can figure out how to save the video and upload it somewhere else, that would be great
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Old 06-04-2008, 04:55 AM   #73
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The importance of being Ernests Riga Mortis


Ernests Gulbis on seeing HEAD racquets being made by hand:
Quote:
I felt so bad. I didn’t break a racquet for like one month. They are putting so much effort to make the racquets and an idiot like me goes and breaks them
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Old 06-04-2008, 04:57 AM   #74
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Default Re: Ernests' news thread!

Eurosport: After winning four rounds are you more confident on playing well on (clay)?
Ernests: *giggling* No, I get less and less confident with every match.

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The importance of being Ernests Riga Mortis


Ernests Gulbis on seeing HEAD racquets being made by hand:
Quote:
I felt so bad. I didn’t break a racquet for like one month. They are putting so much effort to make the racquets and an idiot like me goes and breaks them
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:15 AM   #75
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Default Re: Ernests' news thread!

From Reuters:

Gulbis happy to put crazy days behind him

by Pritha Sarkar

PARIS, June 3 (Reuters) - Ernests Gulbis is once and for all ready to slam the lid shut on his "crazy times" as he looks to build on his unexpected run to the French Open quarter-finals.

Like third seed Novak Djokovic, who beat the Latvian in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros on Tuesday, Gulbis is a graduate of the Niki Pilic tennis academy in Munich.

But while his childhood friend took on board Pilic's advice and has since soared up the rankings, Gulbis admitted he has paid the price for fooling around too much.

"About one year ago, for example, I was not really concentrated on tennis at all," said Gulbis, who was beaten 7-5 7-6 7-5 by his former sparring partner.

"I could go out before a tournament I could go with friends until 6:00 in the morning... and then play a match.


"That is in a kind of way a little bit crazy and stupid."

While Gulbis enjoyed being 'stupid', Djokovic put in all the hard graft on court. It was not long before Djokovic began to reap the rewards of his work.

"In junior times when it was at the tournaments under-14, under-16 he was always on the top," said Gulbis.

"I was never on the top when I was in that age. I just started to play better when I was 16, 17, when I started to play (ITF) Futures."

Despite being only a year apart in age, Gulbis finds himself ranked 80th in the world and without a single title to his name, while world number three Djokovic already has a grand slam trophy in his collection after his success at the Australian Open in January.

That Melbourne triumph by Djokovic finally set Gulbis straight.

"This year I start to realise that it's not the way of a professional tennis player," he said.

"So I think now I'm a little bit smarter and I practise much more, so I think it's going to go just better."

Djokovic also believed his mate had a chance to make it big.

"He has a big potential to be one of the best players in the world in upcoming couple of months or years," said the Serbian, who will meet three-times champion Rafael Nadal in the semis.

"It all depends from his mental ability, if he's stable or not. He needs to get some more experience."

However, on Tuesday, despite losing, Gulbis was happy to savour one achievement.

"If somebody would tell us when we were 12, 13 when we were practising that we would play on Suzanne Lenglen quarter-final, I wouldn't have believed it," he said.
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novakdjokovic marioancic andymurray ernestsgulbis richardgasquet stanislaswawrinka


The importance of being Ernests Riga Mortis


Ernests Gulbis on seeing HEAD racquets being made by hand:
Quote:
I felt so bad. I didn’t break a racquet for like one month. They are putting so much effort to make the racquets and an idiot like me goes and breaks them
jitterbug is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
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